Sarah Berry // This interview series features educators, scholars, artists, and healthcare providers whose work is vital to the growth of the health humanities. On Thursday, May 12, I interviewed Dr. Jay Baruch about his forthcoming essay collection Tornado of Life (MIT Press, August 2022), as well as medicine, narrative, and the role of writing…
Tag: illness narratives
Medicine’s martial metaphors: “Fighting the good fight”
Steve Server // In 1977’s Illness as Metaphor, Susan Sontag offered a prescription for the “most truthful way of regarding illness—and the healthiest way of being ill” (3). As Sontag noted, some of the ways in which humans make meaning on “the night-side of life” may hamper our ability to suffer in a “healthy” way (3). “As long…
Bordering the Line – A Three-Piece Creative Series (I)
Bordering the Line – A Three-Piece Creative Series tackling Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
Book Review: Narrative Art and the Politics of Health
Steven Rhue // Narrative Art and the Politics of Health stands out as wonderful collection of essays that unites disparate stories of health and wellbeing entangled with in the politics of medicine and healing. Brooks and Blanchette have carefully organized this assortment of writings in three thematic divisions. Part 1 of the volume concerns institutional narratives that confront…
“Let us confess it”: Review of Amala Poli’s Writing the Self in Illness
Sarah Roth // What does it mean to give voice to an experience of illness in literary form, and what modes of attention are asked of a reader as she engages with what is written?
Light and Shadows: On Care and Loss
Sarah Roth // My mother and I divide up her Hospice bags: two nondescript fanny packs holding morphine, liquids, and nutrition. Artifacts of the land of the critically ill, they are contraband here in the clinic.
Diagnosis: What’s Wrong with Us
Sneha Mantri // Netflix’s newest original series, Diagnosis, dropped on August 16, 2019. Each of the seven episodes is touted as a “medical mystery” to be solved through crowdsourcing. The concept is intriguing: harness the global reach of the internet to connect patients, families, and physicians, all working in concert to solve a complex case….
Review: The Undying
Josh Franklin // Review of Anne Boyer. The Undying. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019. The Undying is a powerful memoir by poet Anne Boyer, describing her diagnosis of breast cancer and her subsequent treatment. Boyer struggles against the narrative confines of the illness experience as conventional and medicalized, writing, “I do not want to tell the…
The Insightful in the Personal Narrative: Reading Jerry Pinto’s ‘Em and the Big Hoom’
Amala Poli // Is happiness always conditional to good health? Or does it redefine itself in the presence of chronic illnesses? Author Jerry Pinto’s work of autobiographical fiction, Em and the Big Hoom (2012), set in India in the 90s and narrated from the perspective of a teenage boy, explores the strong ties in a…
Fevered Bodies in Early Victorian Fiction & Medicine
Diana Rose Newby // On October 24, 1840, the British Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal published a piece by physician James Eager on “continued fevers”: afflictions which he insists “more justly merit the patient investigations of observers” than any other known disease (57). What makes these maladies so difficult to diagnose or treat, according to…